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Justin Trudeau, Thomas Mulcair and Stephen Harper face off at The Globe and Mail's election debate on Sept. 17.

Justin Trudeau, Thomas Mulcair and Stephen Harper face off at The Globe and Mail’s election debate on Sept. 17.


The Globe and Mail held its leadership debate, in partnership with Google Canada and CPAC, in Calgary on Thursday. Watch the faceoff between Conservative Leader Stephen Harper, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair, and explore the highlights below. A full transcript will be available tomorrow.

Full video of Thursday's debate



Opening question to Mr. Harper: Canada is facing structural rather than cyclical change. Do you have a jobs plan for industry, beyond taking things out of the ground?

Harper: Mr. Harper touts Conservatives' plans for intervening in the labour market, immigration policy and innovation in manufacturing. "The essence of our plan is making sure we're making investments in things we can afford," he says, criticizing the costs of his opponents' plan. Mr. Harper also stressed that the job market is unstable: "I never said things were great."

Mulcair: Mr. Mulcair criticizes Mr. Harper for not going beyond resource extraction in explaining his job plan. "You put all your eggs in one basket, and you dropped the basket."

Trudeau: He pledges the Liberals have "a strong and clear plan" to invest in the middle class, including investments in roads and transit, and that the party would run "modest" deficits to pay for it.


Opening question to Mr. Mulcair: What is the cost of your planned cap-and-trade proposal?

Mulcair: Mr. Mulcair touts the NDP's planned cap-and-trade system as the best way to combat emissions. After a follow-up question from David Walmsley, Mr. Mulcair denied that he was proposing a carbon tax and did not give an exact number on the NDP's emissions-reduction plan.

Trudeau: Mr. Trudeau attacked Mr. Mulcair's environmental record by accusing him of having supported bulk water while in government in Quebec, an accusation Mr. Mulcair denied.


Opening question to Mr. Trudeau: Mr. Trudeau, you are committed to taking us into deficit to fund your infrastructure plan. Spending money is an easy promise. What does success look like?

Trudeau: Pledges Liberals would work with the provinces to identify priority projects and make sure that they are built. He also accused Mr. Harper of worsening Canada's infrastructure deficit.

Harper: Mr. Harper disputed Mr. Trudeau's claim. "Of course, the easiest thing to do is for someone to come along and say we'll spend more. … Running a deficit is not the kind of protection our economy needs right now."

Mulcair: Mr. Mulcair called the Liberals' plan "reckless and uncosted," saying the NDP's plan for $1.5-billion a year in infrastructure was better long-term planning. "Canadians need help right now," Mr. Trudeau retorted. "… If this isn't the time to invest, what would be?"


Opening question to Mr. Harper: All parties agree immigration is central to Canada's long-term economic strategy. What is the right balance between economic migrants and those seeking family reunification?

Harper: Says that Canada didn't cut immigration during the recession because it's in Canada's best interest long-term. Asked if we should increase immigration to make up for Canada's aging population, he said "we want to get the right mix" to get the most economic benefits from immigration to Canada. Pressed to address the issue of refugees, he accused his rivals of being willing to "open up our borders" during the current Syrian refugee crisis without concern for security. Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Harper hotly disputed that, accusing Mr. Harper of fear-mongering. During the exchange, a reference to "old-stock Canadians" by Mr. Harper drew heated criticism on social media.

Harper’s ‘old stock Canadians’ remark draws ire on social media


Trudeau: Asked what role immigration plays in the Liberals' economic plan, Mr. Trudeau said Mr. Harper is under-investing in family reunification as a way to "create strong communities" as well as reap the economic benefits of immigration. "We need to once again be a country that is open and welcoming," he said, invoking the 1979-80 influx of Vietnamese migrants as an example of what could be done to help refugees.

Mulcair: Supported Mr. Trudeau's claim that the Conservative government has given short shrift to family reunification and called their handling of the temporary foreign workers program a "total shambles."


Opening question to Mr. Trudeau: Mr. Trudeau, Canadians have been on a borrowing binge to buy ever more expensive homes. What would you do to guard against a housing bubble?

Trudeau: Asked if he would do anything to restrict foreign ownership of real estate, Mr. Trudeau said it was hard to get an accurate picture of this because of the Conservatives' phasing out of the long-form census. He criticized Mr. Mulcair's promises for homeowners as "puffs of smoke," to which Mr. Mulcair replied: "You'd know a lot about that, Justin."

Mulcair: Pointed out that the Liberals, while in government, cancelled the Liberals' national housing strategy, and pointed to the rising burden of student debt. He said the NDP would "put more money in their pockets" with affordable child care and a $15-an-hour minimum wage.

Harper: Said the housing story in Canada is a "very positive story" in Canada because home ownership rates are rising. Pointed to the home renovation tax credit and the doubling of contributions to tax-free savings accounts as ways to improve homeowners' bottom line.


Opening question to Mr. Mulcair: You will raise the corporate tax rate from the current 15 per cent to 17 per cent. What economic rather than political reason justifies your decision?

Mulcair: Says the NDP would close tax loopholes.

Harper: "High taxes and permanent deficits don't create jobs."

Trudeau: Reinforces that the Liberals would "raise the taxes on the wealthiest 1 per cent so we can cut them for the middle class." In reiterating these pledges twice, he prefaces the statement by highlighting other Liberal policies, such as security and infrastructure, and contrasting them with the NDPs' and Conservatives'.


Opening question to Mr. Mulcair: Mr. Mulcair, you lead a party that has never run the country. Why should the electorate hand the national economy to you?

Mulcair: "After 150 years of being told we have no choice … there is another choice," Mr. Mulcair said at the beginning of a more relaxed one-on-one exchange with Mr. Walmsley. He invoked the legacy of Tommy Douglas and spoke about investing in a knowledge-based economy.

Trudeau: Weighing in on Mr. Mulcair's remarks, he said Mr. Mulcair was "putting off" a better future for Canadians by focusing on balancing the budget. "That's not what I'm going to do. I'm being honest with Canadians. We're going to run three deficits."

Harper: Mr. Harper pointed to NDP provincial governments' economic track records to criticize Mr. Mulcair's plans.


Opening question to Mr. Trudeau: Taxing the wealthiest and then spending it: Why should Canadians, who are already up to their eyes in debt, be encouraged by that message?

Trudeau: The Liberal Leader emphasized tax cuts to the middle class: "Only the Liberal Party is going to ask people who have been a little more successful to put money in the pockets of people who actually need it." Asked about his plans for an infrastructure bank and the role of the federal government, he said a Liberal government would respond to provincial and municipal needs on the ground as needed.

Harper: Mr. Harper warned that Mr. Trudeau risks getting Canadians "off the anchor of a balanced budget for no good reason."

Mulcair: Mr. Mulcair accused Mr. Trudeau of flip-flopping on the issue of balanced budgets after having voted in favour of tax cuts under Mr. Harper's government.


Opening question to Mr. Harper: Mr. Harper, it is clear that Canada, under your watch, is no longer the international champion. Record household debt, minimal growth, stagnant wages. Why do you deserve more time to find a cure?

Harper: "I don't accept what you've just said … we've done better than any of the developing economies." Asked about how to diversify the Canadian economy beyond natural resources, he said many economic crises have come and gone in the past few years, but "we have to operate on a long-term plan."

Mulcair: He said "Ottawa has become a more divisive and a meaner place" under Mr. Harper, including in its relationship with the provinces.

Trudeau: Mr. Trudeau criticized both Mr. Harper and Mr. Mulcair for a "lack of ambition" on developing the economy.

Why is the debate in Calgary? Editor-in-chief David Walmsley explains




Thursday's debate is focused on the economy, which is one of the reasons it's being held in Alberta, where slumping oil prices have dominated the electoral discussion about the country's future. Each of the major parties is offering its own prescription about how to create jobs and sustain growth despite the resource sector's struggles.



No. The Globe's debate featureD the leaders of the three major parties that have official status in the House of Commons, which does not include the Greens. ( Read more here about The Globe's reasoning behind that decision.)

The Green Party Leader partnered with Twitter to join the debate conversation on social media, sending video remarks and other messages from Victoria on Thursday night.


The federal election is only a month away now. Here are some resources The Globe has prepared to help you understand the race and what the polls are saying about who's ahead.